Genealogy Wise

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Greetings everyone, I am sorta on a rant today. After listening to many people post their brick walls and discuss their lost connection, I just am amazed at how many times I hear them say, " I can not find them on the census."

What a shame we had census put on line before land records or tax lists. It seems young, old, new or seasoned researchers are placing way to much faith in Census Records.

1. Census Records may or may not be accurate.
2. We have no idea who gave the information.
3. We do not know if that person really knew the answers to the census's takers questions or guessed.
4. Rethink the census data before you take it for fact.

Land Records

1. Made by the purchaser. recorded and documented ( though some times years later)
2. Many times says where they are from and whom related to.
3. First hand information.
4. Land records can give you the neighbors whom may have married into the lineage for a name to check. :>)
5. The land record depending on type can tell you more about the person that just who he is.
6. It can tell you if he was in the service of his country.
7. Did the person have a WARRANT or a PATENT?
8. It can give descendants by passing the land down to younger generations.
9. It can some times indicate who is the older or the younger of the children depending on the division of the land.
10. It can also give married names of females for land purposes.

I big difference from census which is so unknown.
So my tip for today is look for a land record to verify the census data. Everyone should have some type of
land records in their files for documentation.
Granted some city dwellers had no land records then you resort to tax lists and school lists, business liscences
and church records.

Look both in the Grantor and Grantee Indexes and read the data on the neighbors for clues for your family.
You may find the boy married the girl next door so you suddenly know have a last name. :>)

Census Records are not that vital if you can not find them if you look at these other items.

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Comment by Cathy Palm on September 9, 2009 at 8:08pm
Started my blog "In Deeds," in order to post some of the items found while researching. One of my favorites was finding Abraham Lincoln mentioned in a Gallatin Co., Illinois deed:
Comment by Victoria Turner on September 6, 2009 at 7:44am
Good tip re; land records for American researchers but not so applicable for English ones. Which is a pity. As for most taxes, forget it.
Comment by Tina Sansone on September 5, 2009 at 9:52pm
Great article and a good reminder to me to quit putting SO MUCH emphasis on the census and find other sources to do my research. Thanks!
Comment by patsy adkins on September 5, 2009 at 4:00pm
Amen on using land records on your research of your family. Ive had to use them on my family and it has helped with estimating where they lived and who lived by too.
Also If you visit a courthouse go and find the tax records too. These help prove that your relative stayed there in between the census. If some body then the spouse my turn up paying the taxes etc.
IF you want to run back a piece of property this is how you would do it.
First thing is find out who owns the property currently and what district that property is located in. Then go to the land books that are located where the deeds etc are. Then look for the book that has that district and then look up that person name. Then when you get there it will have there names, despriction of the property. Then it will give the deed book and page number. Then you can go and look at the deed and then start tracing the property back to orginial owner. Becareful to look for outsales of the property too. it could have been divided up between the families and neighbors. Also looks for maps of the property.
Dont forget trust deeds too. they can tell you a good bit of information too.
Ive done title research work for the last 20 years in West Virginia.




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